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Crimeans vote to join Russia, West readies sanctions

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-17

Crimea's leaders declared a 96-percent vote in favour of quitting Ukraine and annexation by Russia in a referendum the West declared illegal and that would result in immediate sanctions.

* With three-quarters of Sunday's votes, Mikhail Malishev, head of the referendum committee, said  95.7% of Crimean voters had approved splitting off and joining Russia. Turnout was estimated at 83%.

* Opponents of secession, including Crimea’s Tatar Muslim minority, appeared to have stayed home Sunday, denouncing the vote as a power play and land grab by Russia.

* The US and Europe swiftly condemned the ballot as illegal and were expected to slap sanctions against Russia in reprisal as of Monday.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday told US President Barack Obama in telephone talks that the referendum was “completely in line with the norms of international law”, according to a statement released by the Kremlin.

* After the polls closed late Sunday, crowds of ethnic Russians in the regional Crimean capital of Simferopol erupted with pro-Russian chants in the main square.

* The Crimean parliament will meet Monday to formally ask Moscow to be annexed and Crimean lawmakers will fly to Moscow later in the day for talks, Crimea’s pro-Russia prime minister said on Twitter.

* Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, is expected to vote on the Crimean request for annexation on Monday.

To look back on our coverage of the day's events as they unfolded, read our live blog below.

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Date created : 2014-03-16

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